Bridge Answer Man column: 2016 is a lot of work under the bridge |

Bridge Answer Man column: 2016 is a lot of work under the bridge

A second causeway will be built in the Colorado River for upcoming Grand Avenue bridge work.

Downtown Glenwood Springs looks drastically different than it did on Jan. 4, 2016 — that’s the day the Grand Avenue bridge team broke ground on the $125.6 million construction project. Our team is now about 12 months into this project, and we are taking a moment to reflect on a few of our accomplishments.

First, a few fun facts about our work to-date: The team has worked a total of 37,000 man hours with no significant injuries. More than 3,000 cubic-yards of concrete have been placed and more than 250 tons of rebar installed. In addition, 21,000 tons of rock causeway have been installed with more than 13,000 cubic yards of roadway embankment.

Causeway construction: The first action on the project was the installation of the south causeway in the Colorado River. Crews utilized this causeway for heavy equipment to construct the foundations for the structures. A north causeway will be built prior to the traffic bridge detour.

Pedestrian walkway: Crews installed the temporary pedestrian walkway on the east side of the current traffic bridge. This allows pedestrian access to both the north and south sides of downtown Glenwood Springs while the old pedestrian bridge is being replaced. Crews deconstructed the pedestrian bridge in three nights and relocated it to several locations in Glenwood Springs. Portions of this bridge will be reused by the city over the Roaring Fork River near Fourteenth Street.

Substructure work: In February, crews drilled caissons for the foundations for both the traffic bridge and pedestrian bridge. This construction method was necessary to create a water-resistant environment for pier construction. Crews formed piers, poured concrete and place pier caps. After the concrete cured, crews were able to place steel girders, some as long as 105-feet, over Interstate 70, the Colorado River and the Union Pacific Railroad.

Utility work: Crews were tasked with upgrading the utilities and waterlines on the pedestrian plaza between Seventh and Eighth streets in downtown Glenwood Springs. This included the waterline tie-ins to downtown buildings, sewer, fiber optic and dry utilities.

On the north side of downtown, crews upgraded the city’s waterline and provided upgrades to the buildings. The new pedestrian bridge holds all the utilities, and crews are working to connect the utilities from the north to south side.

Eighth Street connection: Crews began construction for the Eighth Street connection on Sept. 6. In addition to excavation and tree removal, crews also moved the existing waterline. Improvements were made to the intersection of Eighth Street and Midland Avenue. New curb, gutter and sidewalk were added, and improvements were made to the Eighth Street bridge deck.

This new section of roadway directly connects Grand Avenue to Midland Avenue via Eighth Street. This thoroughfare will be crucial to the August 2017 detour when the old traffic bridge is deconstructed and the new bridge takes shape.

Exit 114: At the I-70 Exit 114 interchange, crews expanded capacity in both the north and south roundabouts, on the eastbound off-ramp and on the westbound on-ramp. This interchange will be a key component to the detour in August. This spring, crews will move back into the Exit 114 interchange to complete capacity improvements.

We’ve had quite a year here on the Grand Avenue bridge project. We appreciate all of the community support, involvement and patience throughout the first year of construction. We look forward to a productive 2017.

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